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March 6th, 2015

Movie Review - Chappie


Starring: Sharlto Copley, Dev Patel, Ninja, Yo-Landi Visser, Jose Pablo Cantillo, Hugh Jackman, Sigourney Weaver, Brandon Auret, Anderson Cooper, Jason Cope, and more.

Directed by: Neill Blomkamp Written by: Neill Blomkamp and Terri Tatchell Cinematography by: Trent Opaloch Music by: Hans Zimmer

Premise: A scientist working on artificial intelligence takes a chance and steals a broken scout robot, but is in turn kidnapped. To placate his captors, he offers them the use of scout 22 once he's implanted him with his new AI program. Desperate themselves, the kidnappers take Deon up on the offer, hoping to use the scout for a big heist to get them out of trouble with their boss. But as soon as the scout robot is rebooted, it is obvious scout 22 is more than they bargained for. (Rated R)


1) Acting - Thumbs Up: Dev Patel was perfect as the geeky Deon Wilson. His emotional fervor shone through as the lamb became the lion. Hugh Jackman easily brought home all the frustrated emasculation of his character Vincent Moore. Sigourney Weaver was once more sadly underused.

Outshining everyone, whoever, was Chappie, played by Sharlto Copley. His vocal deliveries, and even more, his captured body movements which were transferred to the CGI character, made Chappie more human than the real thing. Really amazing.

2)  Special Effects - Total Thumbs Up: The CGI work on this film is utterly fantastic. It's hard to think of Chappie as a created image, he looks so real on the screen. The physical interaction between him and those around him totally complete the illusion. Truly some incredible work.

Even the big brute Moose, when finally used in the film, was darn impressive. Add in the explosions, rivers of bullets, and damage of all kinds, and the virtuous efforts of the special effects team are everywhere you look.

3) Plot/Story - Neutral: Though the whole concept of Chappie and his evolution is quite fascinating, the overall plot sadly suffers from all sorts of inadequacies.

Chappie as a character is developed with a lot of detail. But almost everyone else are cookie cutter cutouts. Hippo, for example, is the typical power mad, trigger happy, unthinking thug, putting pressure on his underlings for failing to meet his demands.

The theme of bullies is explored from several directions, which did add some interest and color, if you caught on. Lambs turning into Lions was another motif lightly explored.

Most of the science seemed viable - aside from putting your entire consciousness in a thumb drive, that is. And how secure is your programming when you only have one viable special flash drive and it requires no password? Those issues and some other items appeared somewhat contrived. And to be honest, for most of the film, 90% of the characters involved were not in anyway likable. The effort at the whole "being made better for those you've met" theme was hard to swallow after the ferocity evidenced by one or more of the characters.

And while Chappie gets some physical satisfaction against Vincent, nothing ever comes out about what he did, and all the people he endangered and who died because of his self serving actions (not to speak of the outright attempted murders of two unarmed men). The fact that at the end of the film they mention the scout robots would never be used again made no sense whatsoever. The information and videos of who and what crime was perpetrated at the factory easily available and what made Chappie, Chappie, not having anything to do with the standard scout class programming.

The R Rating should be taken seriously for younger viewers. Not so much for the physical violence, but the emotional ones. Chappie's first night away from home was pretty brutal.

They did move me. I'll give them that. But again, that was all Chappie and Deon for the most part.

4)  Stunts - Total Thumbs Up: Lots of action, violence, bullets, and explosions. They fill the testosterone quota quite nicely - especially the awesome fight at the beginning of the film. I wanted to see more of that!

5) Locations/Cinematography - Thumbs Up: You see enough sci-fi films and some locations start becoming somewhat familiar, even when dressed up a little. A towering building used in Judge Dredd and the shantytown used in District 9 make appearances. They did pick some rather iconic locations, and ones the director has used previously. Still, the cinematography was lovely. And the odd, childish decor in the abandoned building where Ninja and Yo-Landi lived speaked of a childhood they'd never had, even as it served as a unexpected nurturing environment for Chappie.

Conclusion: Some superb CGI work - so good you don't even realize that's what it is. On the down side are cookie cutter characters and made to fit items. You'll be moved, but not excited. Sadly, nothing new was explored in the AI theme. And while the ending was slightly surprising, it doesn't make up for the rest.

Rating: 3 out of 5 (Hubby's Rating: Better for Matinee)

Gloria Oliver
Unveiling the Fantastic



(2015) Fantasy

The King is Dead! Long Live the Undead King!

"What are you implying?"

The magister glided forward and scrunched down beside him.

"That in order to bathe, you must first actually get into the bath."


(2014) Urban Fantasy

It took everything from her, except revenge!

The muscles in my right arm jerked from tension as I tried to make it move and it resisted. A shrill scream inside my head insisted I didn't want to do this. That if I did, there'd be no way to take it back. "I...I'm afraid."


(2011) Young Adult – Fantasy

Which is worse…the monster without or within?


Home—family—the two things he would never have, the two things forever denied him…because of her.

Anger welled inside him, the heat of it suffusing him to the core, gurgling with seething emotions the total opposite of the coolness splashing down from the fountain nearby. Before he realized what he was doing, Jarrin stepped inside the gazebo.

(2007) Young Adult – Fantasy
“Harry Potter meets Dragon Riders of Pern”


“Do you need any help?” she asked. “Just tell me what you want me to do. If you prefer, I’m sure I can round up at least a few people to come over and give you a hand.”

Kel slowly shook his head. “It’s all right. Thanks anyway.” His voice lowered to where she almost couldn’t hear it. “This is all part of my punishment.’

She frowned, not understanding what he meant. “Punishment?”

Kel cocked his head in Clarence’s direction. In a flash, she understood. None of this was an accident. Clarence had landed there deliberately, hoping to make Kel pay for all he went through in the past month. She shook her head, not wanting to believe this, but what the dragon said next took any doubts right out of her head.

(2008) Young Adult – Fantasy
“To save the world she must DIE! Or must she?”


Panic and fear filled with utter helplessness made her dizzy. She knew what would be done with her, she knew what they planned. But there was nothing she could do to stop any of it.

Sharp gasps echoed in her ears as she felt the room’s cold air caress the Eye.

“You were right. She is the one.”

(2002) Adult/YA – Japanese Fantasy Adventure
“The Last Samurai meets Pirates of the Caribbean”


Laying the blade on the floor before him, Toshi parted his kimono until his stomach lay exposed. He tucked his sleeves beneath his legs to hold him upright if he should falter. Ignoring Asano, he took up the blade. His shoulder flared with pain and he tried not to flinch, as he grabbed the blade with both hands. He turned the wakizashi until its sharp point was aimed at his belly, the residence of his soul.

(2004) Adult/YA – Fantasy Mystery
“He tried to forget his past, but his past wouldn’t forget him”


Torren took a step back a sudden shudder racking through him. It was as if he’d never left, as if the boy he’d been would be coming back-though the one who’d loved this room and all these things was long, long dead. That boy died when he’d watched his father’s blood pour forth from his mouth, the end of a sword protruding from his abdomen. That boy died when he survived while everyone else lay dead.

Info, sample chapters, and free reads at www.gloriaoliver.com

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